Journalists at a US media group are celebrating after a major victory in a 7-month campaign nationwide pay campaign. Workers at Digital First Media (DFM) secured their first pay rise for years following months of co-ordinated action and a high-profile campaign.
US journalists union The News Guild reported that the last of 12 Guild bargaining units nationwide ratified an agreement with Digital First Media on 25 August.
Under the new contract, workers will receive an across-the-board raise of 3 percent in the first year. In years two and three, leaders of the 12 bargaining units will jointly negotiate wage claims with DFM management.
Before the campaign was launched some employees hadn’t had a pay rise for ten years.
The national framework for future negotiations represents an important advance for Guild members at all 12 newspapers, campaign leaders said.
The historic agreement between the Guild and DFM was reached after three days of negotiations in July, and after months of coordinated actions by Guild members at 12 newspapers nationwide.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger praised the campaign. He said: “Once again journalists have shown that when they stand together and act together they can secure real benefits for workers. Whether on pay, working hours, conditions or health and safety the union makes a positive difference”.
The joint bargaining for the first wage negotiations will begin in February 2017.
The joint bargaining framework will include workers at The Denver Post, The Mercury News, East Bay Times, Monterey Herald, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Macomb Daily and The Daily Tribune, Kingston Daily Freeman, Pottstown Mercury, Norristown Times-Herald, The Delaware County Times, and The Trentonian.
The DFM national “#NewsMatters” campaign was financed by a special grant from the Communications Workers of America. That grant, coupled with exceptional rank-and-file leadership, made the nationwide coordination possible.
Campaign leaders expressed thanks to rank-and-file members for their support and participation, and to the more than 11,000 Guild, CWA and community supporters who signed a petition and took part in the campaign.